I don’t want to say it but I will. Kids, I think we’re rocking and rolling.
Joe Willock looks set to leave the club for £22m.
This is good business. I mean, finally, Edu, on holiday 9 of the summer, has managed to slip in a sale between kayaking and ziplining. What a baller.
I’m going to have to take some time away from the internet this week, because I could swear I’ve been reading about our inability to sell players all summer… now we’ve sold a player who has had a total of 14 solid games on loan, and people are whining.
Joe Willock has made 78 appearances for Arsenal, he scored 11 goals and made 4 assists. Most don’t realise this, because he was mostly incredibly anonymous. He moved to Newcastle, dropped 14 appearances and scored 8 goals. That’s outrageous output, it added £15m to his pricetag and now makes him one of the most successful exits from the Hale End Academy. But always remember… Reiss Nelson scored 7 goals from 12 shots, we thought we had the next Jadon, we didn’t sell… and we are where we are with him.
I think Tim Stillman made an excellent point, sometimes you have to take a chance on a sale. Deep down, we all know he’s likely not at the level, but if we wait a season to qualify those thoughts, guess what, everyone else will know and there won’t be a premium. It’s really hard to sell players everyone knows are rubbish (look at the dross we can’t move). Also, massive shout to all the fans that were calling Joe a bum when he was in our first team under Emery, now pivoting their narrative.
The good news? If we’re letting Willock go, that means we’re feeling frisky about the chances of bringing in someone to replace him as a #10 or a dynamic #8. 100%, bet your bottom dollar, there will be incomings and outgoings by the end of the window. Will you like them? Who cares, just give me bodies, that’s where I’m at.
There’s an ITK thread doing the rounds at the moment that states Arsenal are £10m short of what Leicester want for James Maddison. The price is £60m, we have £50m, negotiations are positive and ongoing. Who knows what’s going on here, but if this were a smokey fire, you’d see the yellow flames licking the Twitter feed.
The biggest move for me this summer, beyond a CAM, is a striker. We’re woefully short in that department and it’d verge on gross negligence for us to head into this season with a broken Auba, a teenager, and a striker that is painfully short of what we need physically (and in the last year of his deal). People keep reeling off that our chance creation is shocking, and whilst it’s not 2015 Ozil levels of ‘on a plate’, it’s not that bad.
- Hibs 19 chances
- Rangers 19 chances
- Watford (don’t have the number, but we scored 14 and ripped them apart)
- Millwall (don’t have the number but we cored 4 and ripped them apart)
- Chelsea 14 chances
- Spurs 11 chances
Look at the spaces we move the ball into, the system produces good crosses, great opportunities. Imagine replacing Pepe’s STOP/THINK FOR 5 SECOND/MOVE approach to wide play for Saka or Smith Rowe’s direct running. But more than that, think about how much better everything would be with a striker. Imagine Tierney crossing to someone that didn’t sit at the back post and hide? Imagine Lokonga or Xhaka knocking balls over the top to someone that could control high balls and bully centre backs? Imagine having someone truly aggressive in the box?
Maddison makes a big difference, no doubt, but I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think Auba and Lacazette are suddenly going to turn the taps on the way we’re playing.
Part of me is desperately hoping Gabriel can be a difference-maker, but again, our eyes are bigger than our bellies when we talk about young players. Martinelli didn’t start a single game in an Olympic team. This is a tournament Serge G, off no Arsenal games, dominated 4 years ago. Are we really going to expect him to come in and be our saviour as a #9?
As for the backup keeper. I still cannot fathom the flapping around we’re doing on Ramsdale at the prices being spoken about. Here’s what I would do, as a total amateur: I would get a list of keepers with a St Georges flag next to their name with one year left to go on their deal and I would go to the poorest of the clubs and wave a fee at them. Just get me someone that can catch a ball and kick.
Fraser Forster would be an excellent back-up keeper and I’m sure he’d jump at the move. Then you can keep your pennies dry and move for Onana on a free transfer in January, not fearful you are one slip away from a 19-year-old keeper taking over as your keeper.
With the monstrous savings I’ve just found you, I’d hire a branding agency, then go to work on a really nice deck that showcased all the things you’re getting with Hector Bellerin as your brand new right back. It is devastating that we have 4 players that can drop in as right-backs and none of them hit the level we need. The Spaniard doesn’t want to be here, I’d be shocked if he signed a new deal even if offered, we need to ship him out, we need to find a loan for Soares, and we need to get someone that can do a Tierney on that side.
My word, we have a lot to do by the end of the month, but that’s the job of Edu and we can’t be hearing excuses like, ‘oh, I was on the slip ‘n slide in a Mallorca waterpark and missed all the calls this summer.’
Ok, that’s your lot. Podcast tomorrow combined with a Twitch Stream. We’ll be going LIVE at a slightly later time because I am moving house this week.
See you in the comments. x